Viral Marketing

Many People Think That is There is Lots of Money to be Made on the Internet!

Many People Think That is There is Lots of Money to be Made on the Internet!

Some people believe that you just put up a website and watch the cash start rolling in. All you have to do is kick off your shoes, put your feet on the desk and start counting your dollars. Wrong.

Other people believe that all you have to do is buy Google AdSense, pay for Google AdWords, do some SEO (search engine optimization), create a Point to Click Campaign (PCC) and you've got it made. Wrong.

 

The key to sales success (and it should not be a secret to anyone) is asking a decision-maker to do business with you.

 

Seth Godin, marketing guru, says that you need three things if you want more customers:

  • A group of possible customers you can identify and reach.
  • A group with a problem they want to solve using your solution.
  • A group with the desire and ability to spend money to solve that problem.


Too many web marketers work on the if-you-build-it-they-will-come model. They won't.

Once you build a website you must give your audience a reason to come. A website is a passive form of marketing: providing a signboard which points visitors to your products and services. To be most effective, a website should be used in conjunction with seven active forms of marketing which we will examine briefly in this article.

Just how do small business people on a limited budget entice visitors to their website?

 

1. First, advertise your website to web search engines that index the web, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Lycos, WebCrawler, and InfoSeek.

 
2. Second, you must give them a good reason to come. A tried-and-true marketing approach is to offer something of value for free. A number of well-financed corporate websites offer entertaining content which changes constantly. While most small business web marketers can't afford to compete, you can afford to offer valuable information. If you take the time to provide up-to-date information about your industry, for example, you'll find people returning again and again to your site, each time increasing their chances of doing business with you.
 
 
3. A third approach is to find industry-wide linking pages and negotiate reciprocal links to and from their web pages. Your trade association probably lists members.

Several on-line craft centers, for example, offer free links to other crafters. If you are a hotel, be sure to get a link with "All the Hotels on the Web" Consultants will seek links with The Expert Marketplace, or try for a listing in the Virtual Trade Show. The entire list can seem endless, but specific for each industry. Surf the net enough to find which are the key sites for your field, and then seek links there.
 
But be judicious in your use of out-going links. You've just got those people in your door; don't quickly send them away again.

 
4. A fourth method is to purchase Web advertising -usually a rectangle ad with a clickable link to your site on a carefully-selected, high-volume Web site.

A certain percentage of their thousands of visitors will explore you website, and hopefully like what they find. A whole industry has sprung up to act as brokers for such ads. A couple to consider are WPRC (http://www.wprc.com) and WebConnect (http://www.webconnect.com). Small business people will need to find ways to test the effect of specific ads on the bottom line, perhaps by sending people from each ad to a different Web page "front door" so you can monitor traffic from each ad.
 

5. A fifth important way to let people know about your website is to become active in several of the thousands of Internet news groups, Facebook and Twitter fans and groups and mailing lists. Find the groups that are most likely to be frequented by your potential customers--groups can be very narrowly targeted - and join in the discussion.

"Lurk" for a few weeks so you understand the particular culture of the group you are targeting. Then find ways to add constructive comments to the discussion. At the bottom of each message include a "signature"--a 4- to 8-line mini-advertisement with your product, phone number, and Web address. Every time you contribute to the discussion, your mini-ad is seen by hundreds. You'll find considerable fruit this way, but like anything, it comes in response to hard work and persistence. Resist the temptation to send bulk e-mail messages to dozens of news groups-"spamming" in Internet parlance. People do it, but while it may bring customers, it doesn't offer the solid reputation and respect which will build your business in the long run.
 

6. Sixth, make your Web site part of one or more of the many "malls." Businesses in physical shopping malls benefit from the traffic flow of multitudes window shopping. The same can be true on-line.
 
Some malls only include businesses who subscribe to a particular Internet Service Provider (ISP) or pay a fee or percentage of their gross revenues. Others take any business that fits their particular criteria. Dave Taylor, for example, developed The Internet Mall (http://www.internet-mall.com/), a collection of upwards of 30,000+ businesses that meet under one roof. The mall is illusory, however, since businesses in the mall are hosted on separate ISP sites all over the world. Perhaps the largest mall, if you will, is Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com), which doesn't charge anything, but gets its revenues through advertising. Make sure you have a good link there.
 

7. Finally, include your e-mail and web addresses on all your company's print literature, stationery, and display advertising. If people believe they can find out more about your products or services by looking on-line, many will do so.
 

There you have it, seven important ways to increase traffic to your company's Web site in "do it yourself" way. If you use most or all of these forms of marketing, the chances are that two years from now you'll be bragging about your foresight in developing a website when you did, rather than trashing web marketing as just another fad where you threw good money after bad.